UN Human Rights Expert Warns EU Not To Pass Article 13

from the it-will-be-bad dept

The UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of expression has put out another warning that the EU's move towards approving the EU Copyright Directive, and Article 13 in particular, is inconsistent with human rights standards. That's the polite way of saying that it's going to trample all over the public's rights, and especially rights concerning free speech.

“Europe has a responsibility to modernise its copyright law to address the challenges of the digital age,” said the UN’s Special Rapporteur on freedom of expression ahead of a critical vote on the Directive. “But this should not be done at the expense of the freedom of expression that Europeans enjoy today.”

“Article 13 of the proposed Directive appears destined to drive internet platforms toward monitoring and restriction of user-generated content even at the point of upload. Such sweeping pressure for pre-publication filtering is neither a necessary nor proportionate response to copyright infringement online.”

Kaye rightly notes that the proposal, as it stands today, would also entrench the biggest internet companies, rather than enabling real competition:

“In the long run, this would imperil the future of information diversity and media pluralism in Europe, since only the biggest players will be able to afford these technologies.”

He also calls out the fact that this proposal is vague where it needs to be specific, and yet stupidly specific in situations where the drafters clearly don't understand the technology or the nature of expression on the internet:

In the absence of specific requirements on platforms and Member States to defend freedom of expression, it is far from clear how either will comply with the Directive’s proposed safeguards, such as the requirement that “quotation, criticism, review” and the “use [of copyrighted works] for the purpose of caricature, parody or pastiche” be protected, the Special Rapporteur said.

“Even the most experienced lawyers struggle to distinguish violations of copyright rules from exceptions to these rules, which vary across Member States,” Kaye added. “The lack of clear and precise language in the Directive would create even more legal uncertainty.”

“Misplaced confidence in filtering technologies to make nuanced distinctions between copyright violations and legitimate uses of protected material would escalate the risk of error and censorship. Who would bear the brunt of this practice? Typically it would be creators and artists, who lack the resources to litigate such claims.”

It's the last point above that's most important. Even as some content creators are supporting Article 13, the real impact on them will be incredibly damaging. As tons of YouTube creators have learned over the past few years, automated filters frequently create more headaches than they're worth. Legitimate content is regularly taken down, and it's extra difficult for independent creators to make themselves heard. And this will become much worse in a post-Article 13 world, where you have less competition, since only a few internet giants can deal with the requirements of the law.

Filed Under: article 13, censorship, copyright, david kaye, eu, eu copyright directive, free speech, human rights, un


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  • icon
    FlatZOut (profile), 13 Mar 2019 @ 3:25am

    And Yet Here We Are

    It amazes me how the big media companies are still lobbying for this new directive, and yet they don’t understand that it will backfire on them.
    They won’t be able to upload their content online because of the filters that they wanted to be put into place, even if they own the content. Warner Bros won’t be able to share its movie trailers online, and the music industry won’t be able to release their music on the internet.
    Then, because of this, they lose lots of money because a beneficial way to connect with viewers was ultimately shut down.
    In a way, all of this lobbying for the directive will come back to haunt them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 13 Mar 2019 @ 5:45am

      Re: And Yet Here We Are

      They don't care if, or even wish for the independent sites to be destroyed, as that way each company can have its own overpriced Internet channel, laving people the option of paying up, doing without, or pirating their content.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 13 Mar 2019 @ 7:41am

      Re: And Yet Here We Are

      We're talking about religious fanatics and of people whose paycheck depends on not listening nor understanding.
      ...and, looking at how often copyright enforcement leaders go down in court over tax evasion, fraud, embezzlement, etc, a great number of weasels who find copyright lobbying and/or enforcement a legal extension of their usual trade of fraud.

      This will indeed come back to bite them. And they'll blame pirates and/or tech companies when it does.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    any moose cow word, 13 Mar 2019 @ 3:37am

    If those pesky facts were of any consequence in the Article 13 discussions, it never would have gotten this far.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    PaulT (profile), 13 Mar 2019 @ 3:43am

    "It amazes me how the big media companies are still lobbying for this new directive, and yet they don’t understand that it will backfire on them."

    Oh, didn't you hear? Plenty of those companies have changed their minds now that they've realised the negative effects. It might just be too late to stop the momentum of their original demands

    For example: https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20190301/22225341713/major-labels-split-support-article-13-as-musi c-publishers-whine-that-they-cant-make-money-parodies.shtml

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Mar 2019 @ 4:09am

    The irony is strong with this one

    The U.N. is the last organization to talk about freedom of expression given a draft regulation they're trying to push through which prohibits freedom of artistic expression.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Coyne Tibbets (profile), 13 Mar 2019 @ 5:52am

    Citation needed.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Mar 2019 @ 5:57am

    So what's not to like?

    Go copyright! The more the better!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Gary (profile), 13 Mar 2019 @ 7:00am

      Re: So what's not to like?

      The ultimate goal of copyright maximalists is to shut down the internet and all PC's capable of copying files. Every copy is a lost sale, it must be stopped!

      Your site can't protect free expression and filter for bad content? Shut it down or get fined!!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 13 Mar 2019 @ 8:04am

        Re: Re: So what's not to like?

        Would that make copyright maxies luddites?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          any moose cow word, 13 Mar 2019 @ 11:20am

          Re: Re: Re: So what's not to like?

          Yes, in a sense. Luddites were laborers who's jobs were being displaced with machines by lazy middlemen, where as copyright maximalists are largely lazy middlemen who are being made irreverent by machines.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 14 Mar 2019 @ 9:33am

          Re: Re: Re: So what's not to like?

          "Would that make copyright maxies luddites?"

          The copyright cult has fought EVERY invention related to copying and transferring information since Gutenberg invented the printing press.

          When have they ever been anything other than anachronistic luddites?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 13 Mar 2019 @ 11:25am

        Re: Re: So what's not to like?

        The ultimate goal of copyright maximalists is to shut down the internet and all PC's capable of copying files. Every copy is a lost sale, it must be stopped!

        Oh not all of them, just all of them they don't control. I'm sure they'd be perfectly fine with platforms and devices where they were in full control and/or made money each time they were used.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Mar 2019 @ 4:02pm

    I find it utterly amazing that in a form, the web, where every possible violation of people's rights takes place by big internet companies that such a mundane concept as intellectual property takes center stage. Why does the masses have no interest in the internet social media, communication,and police surveillance issues in the continued attempts to establish a world totalitarian system dominated by a select group of elitists but everyone has issues with the media giants removing their Saturday night sports program.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 13 Mar 2019 @ 7:37pm

      Re:

      Follow the money. There you will find the answer.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 14 Mar 2019 @ 5:28am

      Re:

      Why does the masses have no interest in the internet social media, communication,and police surveillance issues

      Maybe because they are well aware that total surveillance never works, and has never worked. A repressive regime applies labels to people so that they can act, and do not care if the label is accurate or not. Repressive/ authoritarian regimes do not like systems where people can talk to each other outside their control, and intellectual property is a way that they can gain effective control over the Internet.

      Also, destroy the Internet over intellectual property issues, and most people lose the ability to self publish their own intellectual property, and if that happens, they will have no outlet for their political opinions and activism other than local groups.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    enesas (profile), 14 Mar 2019 @ 1:32am

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    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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